Research into coloured filters has only proved what was already known

Dyslexia not linked to eyesight, says study

This is the headline on the BBC News website today, May 25th 2015. Here you will read about the study's flawed starting point to the research conducted - that all those diagnosed with dyslexia can be helped with coloured overlays or filters in spectacles. This has never been stated as a fact! The last figure I read was that around 33% of those with dyslexia also suffer from Irlen Syndrome. Being dyslexic does not mean that coloured overlays or lenses will assist reading but often they will. 

Secondly the research has 'proved' there is no link with eyesight problems. The fact that the Irlen Institute has consistently stated that the syndrome is not an optical problem seems to have been missed by these researchers. Click the link below to read it on the Irlen website: 

What is Irlen Syndrome?

The people I personally know, who have had their lives changed because of coloured lenses, must be feeling very confused today about this research. The first person I taught who was diagnosed with Irlen syndrome, and who had his whole life changed as a result of the coloured lenses he was prescribed, had been tested for dyslexia but not diagnosed as being dyslexic. He could read but reading made him very tired and gave him severe headaches; the print did not move around, had no 'waves' in it, and the letters were all in the right order; he never confused left and right and had no problems with sequencing, so all this made it unlikely he suffered from dyslexia. But when tested for Irlen Syndrome, he discovered he had been unable to see the spaces in print - either between the words or the lines! It was only the fact that he was so intelligent that he could read at all!  But he thought everyone saw print like that!

 Read the FAQs on the Irlen website

When driving this pupil had very poor spatial awareness and actually failed to see some things because they were not visible to his brain, even though his eyes were capable of seeing these things, the brain was not. His coloured glasses completely overcame this problem for him so he could see normally for the first time in his life, a normality he didn't know existed as he previously believed he was seeing things the same as everyone else!  His eyesight is fine, he can see the print clearly, just without spaces!  And this is the very fact that has been completely overlooked by these researchers - they didn't interview those whose lives have been changed by the coloured filters! 

Read the BBC News report


  1. Tony Lane

    Hi Jackie

    I’ve just listened to your webinar about the Irene Syndrome. I found it most informative considering I have just started teaching a student that claim to have the syndrome. Now I understand a bit of what might be happening and it gives me some ideas of what I could do to find out how they are affected and how I can help them more.

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